Sterling blinked. "Say what?"
Allyson huffed like he was an idiot. "I said I'm pregnant. We're pregnant. We're having a baby."
We're pregnant? How the fuck were they pregnant? How the hell did women get it in their heads that pregnancy meant the guy was pregnant too?
"How do you know it's mine?"
Allyson's brown eyes widened. They looked like they were going to pop right out of her head.
"Oh my god, Sterling! How could you say that? I'm not some whore that sleeps around!"
He nearly groaned. Goddamn him and his unfiltered mouth. Now she was using her high pitched voice. Fuck, it was too early for this. His eardrums felt like they were being pounded with sticks. No, logs. Big logs.
"You are the only guy I've been with in over two years!"
"Arghh!" She clenched her fists at her sides.
Maybe the surprised tone had been a bad idea for him to use.
"Not everyone has had sex with a hundred people by the time they're eighteen!"
He smirked. "It's been more like —"
“I don't care," she growled.
He rubbed his face. Why did she have to come into his bedroom at 7am on a Saturday? He wasn't awake enough to deal with this shit.
"I just..." she sounded calm now. And scared.
He looked up from his hands. Allyson's bottom lip trembled. "I'm scared," she whispered.
He sighed. He probably would be too...after it had time to sink in.
"Come here." He patted the bed beside him.
She sat down and laid her head on his shoulder. They'd only been together for one month. And they'd used condoms. Sterling didn't know how this could have happened. He wasn’t a rookie when it came to safe sex.
"We'll get through this," he muttered as he awkwardly put his arm around her. They'd had sex plenty of times in the last four weeks, but he didn't do this cuddling shit. It made him uncomfortable.
"That's what everyone says," she sniffled.
Yeah, it was. But he didn't know what else to say.
"We're only eighteen," she whispered. "What about college?"
He shrugged. "I wasn't planning on going to college anyway."
"But I was."
"And you still can. Who says a baby has to stop all your plans?"
"It's going to change everything. My parents are both dead, your parents are..." she hesitated.
He scoffed. "You can say it — my parents are shit."
"I wasn't going to say it like that."
He didn't care if she was going to say it like that. He'd accepted long ago that he'd fallen short in the parents department. His dad lived somewhere in Alaska, calling occasionally; and his mom was obsessed with finding the perfect man. He’d basically raised himself.
After several long moments, Allyson murmured, "We'll really be okay?"
He didn't know, just like he didn't know about anything else in his life. He just acted. And the consequences fell wherever the fuck they fell.
“Yeah, we will."
Sterling wiped the sweat from his brow. Goddamn, it was hot today. The construction site was buzzing with noise. About twenty guys were on site today. They had to finish this office building within the week.
His cell vibrated in his pocket. He checked the screen.
Allyson. He hadn't seen her in two weeks, since the day she'd told him she was pregnant.
"Sterling?" She sounded...weird.
"Who else did you expect?" He walked away from the noisy job site, towards the parking lot.
“I have something to tell you."
"Yeah?" he said impatiently. "What is it? I'm working, Allyson."
"I know, but I didn't want this to wait." He heard her take a deep breath. Then in a burst of air, she said, "We can't have sex anymore."
He laughed. "What the hell does that mean?" It had already been three weeks since he'd gotten to fuck her. His right hand was having ransom spasms from being used too much.
"I've gotten saved. I'm a Christian now."
"What?" Because he couldn't have heard her right. That was the stupidest shit he'd —
“Saved. I've found God."
She was serious. Found God? What the fuck did that mean?
"So that means we can't have sex anymore. Sex before marriage is wrong."
"It's a bit late for that," he muttered.
“There's forgiveness and repentance. This is my fresh start."
"Did you kill someone or something?"
She paused. "What?"
“Killed someone. You know, murder. When you take another person's life."
She huffed. "I know what killing someone means. What I don't get is why you are asking me that?"
"Because you just started sprouting shit about forgiveness."
“We all need forgiveness for our sins."
"Sins,” he said dryly.
"Yes." And she packed as much conviction as she possibly could in that one word.
He rolled his eyes. All this shit was giving him a migraine. What the fuck was "repentance"?
"So that's why we need to break things off," she continued.
"So we're done?" He wasn't surprised at how he didn't care.
"Unless you too would like to make a declaration of faith," she said.
He burst out laughing. He leaned over the hood of the nearest car, holding his stomach. Him? Christian?
“That's some motherfuckin' hilarious shit," he said while still laughing.
Allyson didn't say anything. He could just imagine her round face and wide eyes glaring at the phone.
"That's not funny, Sterling. This is serous to me. It's important."
He snorted. Yeah, he bet it was. He smothered his chuckles with his hand. He wasn't a complete asshole. "Okay."
“I can tell you're still laughing."
He snorted. "That was some pretty funny shit."
She sighed, like she was dealing with a petulant child. "Listen, just because we're not going to be together anymore doesn't mean I don't want you in our child's life."
Right. Like he'd let her walk away when she was pregnant with his kid. Again, he wasn't a complete asshole. He was going to be involved in his own kid’s life.
"I want our baby to know it's father."
He nodded. "Okay. Good." He glanced back at the worksite.
"We'll work out the particulars later, but I just wanted you to know that we can't be a couple anymore."
He saw his boss waving him over.
"Ok, thanks, sounds good, Allyson." He started to head back to the site, where his boss stood with his arms crossed.
"I'm...sorry." She cleared her throat. "That it didn't work out."
"Don't worry about it." He wasn't. The only thing he wanted right now was to get off the phone. His boss didn't look happy.
"Okay, bye." She sounded sad. Why did women always sound sad when they ended the relationship?
"Bye," he said quickly before hanging up.
"I didn't clear you for a break," Jerry, his boss said.
"Sorry," he muttered.
He didn't have a girlfriend anymore, but he did have a baby on the way. He was young, but part of him couldn't help but be excited.
What would his kid be like?
"We're having a boy."
"Fuck yeah." Sterling banged his hand on the kitchen counter.
She sighed through the phone. "You really should watch your language, you're going to be a father now."
Yeah, he was, but that didn't mean he was going to change. He loved his boy already, he knew he'd do anything for him, but he wasn't gonna change himself. There was nothing wrong with him.
"I've also decided on a name," she said.
"You've decided on a name?"
"Yes. Aubrey. Aubrey Taylor Reed," Allyson said, and she said it with fucking pride — like that was a fucking name to be proud of!
"You are not naming my son a fucking pussy name."
She gasped. "It's a unisex name! And it's classy," she argued.
"It's a goddamn girl's name...for a boy!" he yelled. "The poor kid is going to be bullied in school for that fucking name."
"Oh my god, you really need to get a grip. He is not going to bullied." Now she just sounded annoyed.
She should be annoyed. She was naming their son a girl's name.
"And why the hell does he have your last name? Goddamn, you don't give me any say in our kid's name, then you go ahead and decide to give him your last name."
Really the shit this woman came up with. He supposed he should be glad that she wasn't being a complete bitch about it. She called and gave him updates, she even invited him to doctor's appointments.
But this? Fuck, a name was important.
"Well..." she hesitated "We were not ever legally married so I was told —"
"Told by who?"
"It doesn't matter." She huffed. "I didn't realize it was that big of a deal to you. We can hyphenate his last name."
Reed-Anderson. That sounded good to him. "Reed-Anderson. Fine. Now what about the first name?"
"I'm afraid that's the one thing I won't budge on. It's a name I've wanted for my child since I was a child."
"Since you were a kid you've been thinking about having a kid? Allyson, are you sure you didn't get pregnant on purpose?" He smirked.
"Argh, I don't even know why I bother sharing anything with you. You know that's not how I meant it!" Ooo, she had her pissed off voice now.
"No, I don't. How did you mean it?" Sterling laughed as she fumed and muttered whatever words over the phone.
"I'm gonna go," she finally said.
"Wait, before you go — did you intentionally get yourself pregnant?"
She hung up.
He burst out laughing.
She was in labor. Holy fucking shit, she was in labor. Goddamn, this was not something an 18 year old guy needed to be seeing.
"Drugs! Gimme drugs!" Allyson shrieked for the tenth time in 30 seconds.
"The anesthesiologist is on his way," the nurse said in a soothing voice.
Sterling didn't know why she bothered trying to be calm.
"NOW!" Allyson shouted.
"Just try to breath," the nurse rubbed her shoulder.
"Don't touch me. And I can't fucking breath!"
He did have to admit, he loved hearing the newly reformed Christian girl curse up a storm.
"Maybe you should try."
Sterling looked at the nurse. "Are you talking to me?"
He laughed. "Yeah, nothing I say is gonna make a difference."
"This isn't funny, you asshole!" Allyson glared at him from the hospital bed. Shit, she may have been a tiny thing, but she looked fucking scary with her sweaty hair plastered to her face and her eyes spitting venom at him. "You're the reason I'm in here! You couldn't keep it in your fucking pants!" She fell back against the mattress.
The nurse appeared unfazed by all the cursing and yelling and accusations. "Don't worry, she doesn't mean what she's saying. It's the pain talking," the nurse said.
"Oh, I'm pretty sure she does mean what she's saying," Sterling said.
Allyson screamed. "Oh my fucking god I need to push!"
Okay, this shit just got real. Where the hell was the anesthesiologist?
"Let's have a look," the nurse said all cheery like.
What the hell was she happy about? This was a fucking nightmare. Allyson was screaming, he hadn't slept in over fifteen hours, and he was hungry. God, the crazy woman wouldn't even let him near her. Not like he wanted close to Allyson — she was acting like a fucking maniac.
"Don't you dare! Just —ahhh!" Allyson heaved her upper body off the bed. Clutching her stomach, she yelled, "Motherfucker! This baby's coming."
"Just blow it away," the nurse rushed to the end of the bed.
"I'm not blowing anything away!" Allyson squeezed her eyes shut.
"The doctor's on his way," the nurse said after she checked under the sheet.
Sterling stood at the side of the bed — far enough away from Allyson so she couldn't take a swing at him.
The nurse turned to him. "The baby's crowning."
Crowning? How the hell was he supposed to know what that meant?
"Get the sheet off me!" Allyson yelled.
"Shhh, try to stay calm. Just breath." The nurse rushed to her side.
Allyson kicked the sheet away herself. "Another contraction's coming," she shrieked.
Sterling's face paled. Shit, she was gonna have the baby before the doctor arrived.
"Don't push, wait for the doctor," the nurse said. Her words had no affect on Allyson. She was pushing so hard her face turned red.
The door swung open.
Oh thank fucking christ the doctor's here.
Everything happened so quickly — Allyson's legs were put up, each being held by a nurse; the doctor took a seat on a stool right between her spread legs.
And Allyson pushed.
Sterling stood there, completely overwhelmed.
He didn't know how long she pushed and yelled and screamed.
"Once more," someone said, Sterling didn't know who.
Then he heard it. The sound of the baby crying.
"Would you like to cut the umbilical cord?"
Sterling blinked. One of the nurses was smiling at him, holding a pair of big scissors in her hand.
"The umbilical cord," she repeated. Like he was supposed to know what the fuck she was talking about.
He stepped to the bed. His son was crying on his mother's stomach, his skin smeared red and white. He swallowed. The nurse showed him how to cut the cord, then she whisked the baby away. Sterling didn't let his son out of his sight. He watched the nurse clean him and put a diaper on him, then wrap him snuggly in a blue blanket.
"He'll need to breastfeed in a moment, but for now he's content. Would you like to hold him?" The nurse asked him. She stood in front of him, the baby held carefully in her arms. He wasn't crying anymore.
Sterling nodded, unable to speak. The nurse smiled at him as she placed his son in his arms. He was so small. Sterling gently ran his finger down his son's cheek. His wrinkly, red skin was warm and soft. His eyes were dark blue and they blinked before fixing on Sterling's face. He felt tears prick his eyes. This was his son. His boy.
He knew his life would never be the same again.